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Jonamac Orchard corn maze gives families a sense of normalcy amid COVID-19 pandemic

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Malta, Ill. (WREX) — It's no secret that the COIVD-19 pandemic has changed if not cancelled a lot of seasonal activities.

That's why many people who navigate Jonamac Orchard's corn maze say it provides a sense of relief, a period of time where the outside world doesn't matter.

It's a sentiment that inspired the Newberger family to make a trip to a corn maze family tradition.

"It's our annual adventure," father Charlie Newberger said. "For some strange reason, we all have a knack for it and it's just something we like to do."

Evan (front), Katie (left), Charlie (right), and Mia (back) navigate the corn maze.

But as their kids' sports events and weekend activities got cancelled this spring, these weekend retreats became sparser and more valuable to the family.

"We are trying to find as many family activities that feel like it's a normal fall," mother Katie Newberger said. "So coming to the pumpkin patch, and a corn maze and apple picking can make it feel a bit more normal, and like you're not in a global pandemic."

The maze at Jonamac Orchard doesn't stop at putting smiles on families' faces while navigate corn labyrinth, the plant puzzle has a story all its own.

Jonamac Orchard honored the 125th anniversary of NIU with their 2020 corn maze design

Since the year 2000 when the orchard started its corn maze, owner Kevin McArtor looked to honor something with the design. This year, the maize studded spotlight went to Northern Illinois University's 125th anniversary.

"What this design concept starts with every year is us coming up with a theme for the year, something local, something historical generally," McArtor said.

Jonamac Orchard's corn maze is open on Fridays and Saturdays through the end of the season.

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William Ingalls

William Ingalls is the weekend reporter at WREX. He joined the team in 2019 as a photographer after graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and English from Augustana College. William was born and raised in Rockford and went to high school at Christian Life.

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